Archives for December 2017

What Biological Parents Must Know About Consent to Adoption in New Jersey

Biological Parents Adoption in New Jersey

Are you a biological parent considering adoption? Just as any party who is thinking about moving forward with an adoption, you need the benefit of an experienced attorney who can walk you through the various critical phases of this process and minimize your stress surrounding the situation. Proper compliance with all state laws linked to adoption is extremely important because you must follow all of these laws in order to minimize challenges in your case.

Get Help from an Adoption Attorney Immediately

Before you move forward with an intended adoption, it’s important to consider that you’ve looked at all the legal ramifications and made a decision about what’s right for you. You might need consent from one or more people in order to decide on an adoption.

If you are facing these complex matters in a pending adoption, having the insight provided by a lawyer can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind about this important process. For a couple thinking about putting a baby up for adoption or anyone thinking about adoption a baby, a full understanding of the state laws surrounding this issue should be achieved before beginning the procedures.

Your NJ adoption lawyer is an important advocate for you and your needs as your case moves through the legal stages of consent to adoption or trying to adopt a child.

What is Consent?

One common question that emerges for biological parents has to do with consent to adoption. A biological parent’s rights are some of the most strongly protected across the country. This means that with very rare exceptions, a parent has to consent to the process before a child can be legally put with another family. Whether this is through an agency or an independent adoption, birth parents have to relinquish parental rights for adoption to proceed.

What Happens After the Elimination of Parental Rights?

After parental rights are ended or terminated, the legal connection between the child and the birth parent is officially severed. Parental consent could, in some places, be revoked under very rare circumstances, but it is usually classified as permanent.

If a biological parent consents to adoption, this is their legal agreement to relinquish the child to someone else. This releases all responsibilities and rights. The biological father and mother, so long as the father has established paternity, have the first right of consent for adoption.

All states except a handful, specify when a birth parent can provide consent. Time related rules or waiting periods may be in place. New Jersey follows a waiting period of three days before consent can be executed. Consent for adoption typically occurs when a written notarized statement is completed or the biological parent appears before a judge. Hiring an experienced adoption attorney can help to clarify your responsibilities and the laws surrounding these issues. After a parent gives consent to an adoption, it can be very challenging to go back. There are very limited circumstances that would allow a birth parent to revoke his or her consent to adoption. For example, this can happen in cases involving coercion or fraud, or if the court deems that it is in the best interests of the child to undo the revocation of parental rights.

Consent through coercion or fraud can be revoked in New Jersey and a handful of other states. The right adoption attorney is extremely important for all aspects of managing an adoption through the state of New Jersey. You need to ensure that you have someone committed to working hard on your behalf in order to move forward with these legal claims.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail.

Stepparent Adoption in New Jersey

Stepparent Adoption in New Jersey | Stepparent Adoption Lawyer

Blending your families can be an exciting experience but one that is complicated by the many legal rules surrounding stepparent adoption in New Jersey. Being knowledgeable about your rights is important but many people are not aware of the fact that the most common type of adoption within the state of New Jersey is that of a stepparent adopting a stepchild.

The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the easier it will be to understand what’s involved in stepparent adoption. Walking things through with a lawyer can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that this momentous and important occasion for your family is handled with care. With the right NJ adoption lawyer, you’ll feel well taken care of.

There are numerous different reasons why stepparent may decide to move forward with such a procedure. The stepparent may want to officially secure an inheritance for the child or all children in the household might want to have equal status. There might also be an additional purpose to secure and legalize the bond and commitment that have long been a reality between an existing stepparent and stepchild. It is quite different to go through a stepchild adoption than adopting a child through an agency or private adoption.

In order for an adult to adopt a stepchild, they have to be married to the biological parent of the child. Furthermore, the non-custodial parent’s rights must have already been terminated. This might be the first reason why you scheduled a consultation with a New Jersey adoption attorney. Biological parents’ rights can be terminated involuntarily or voluntarily. If the biological non-custodial parent intends to voluntarily terminate their parental rights, the non-custodial parent must sign a form that officially relinquishes his or her parental rights. In addition, an involuntary termination is often possible too.

A court order can establish this if the non-custodial parent cannot be located. Other reasons why a parent’s rights might be terminated include failure to comply with recommendations of the division of child protection in permanency, a court finding that the best interests of a child are represented with a termination of parental rights, or a conviction of abandonment, abuse, cruelty or neglect. If a non-custodial biological parent’s rights are terminated, they lose the ability to have parenting or custody time with the child.

That also means that the custodial parent cannot collect reimbursement of expenses or child support from the non-custodial parent. After a biological parent’s rights have been terminated involuntarily or voluntarily, a background check must be completed by the stepparent. This usually involves a check with multiple agencies and a verification to determine whether or not domestic violence charges have applied in the past. After this check is complete and the adoption hearing is scheduled, if the child is older than 10, that child has to be present during the hearing. The stepparent becomes the official legal parent of the child and enjoins the same duties, relationships and obligations as if the child were born to that parent directly. This includes rights of inheritance.

Stepparent adoption can be especially complex if you are not familiar with the rights or the common challenges involved. For this reason, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney immediately to protect your interests from the outset of your concerns. Filing all of the proper paperwork and staying on top of the timelines associated with a stepparent adoption are extremely important for you as well as your loved ones and proper adherence to all of this documentation and the rules of the court can make things smooth for everyone involved.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail.

Who Can Adopt and How in New Jersey?

New Jersey Adoption Lawyer

When you are interested in adopting a child in New Jersey, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities and the rights afforded to you, as well as what to expect in an adoption home study. The stages of an adoption are many, and they can also be complex if you don’t have an attorney working for you. When you get legal insight early on in the process, however, you’ll feel more confident with each step.

A proper understanding of the process in advance after speaking directly with your New Jersey adoption attorney can give you better peace of mind about the complexities of the process. An adoptive parent must be 10 years older than the child scheduled to be adopted and be age 18 or older.

A married individual can petition the local court to adopt a child with written consent of his or her spouse, if living separate apart from his or her spouse or jointly with the spouse named in the same case. If the prospective parents do not live in New Jersey at the time, they can still adopt within the state if the child is born in NJ or if they worked with a New Jersey licensed adoption agency.

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of an Adoptive Parent in NJ?

Certain requirements established under New Jersey law enable certain rights and duties afforded to adopted parents. New Jersey laws were written to demonstrate that intended adopted parents are fit and suitable for a child.

After the adoption process is started, an adoption home study will be scheduled. This is the formal assessment from an approved agency to determine the readiness and the capacity of any prospective adoptive parents, including the agency’s recommendations and written report. The primary basis for the home study is to figure out whether or not the prospective adoptive parents are capable of providing a nurturing, healthy and safe environment for a minor.

In addition to visiting the intended parents’ home directly, the home study might also include interviews with prospective parents and others living in that same home, review of references from the prospective parents – including personal references and employers, verification and employment and income, and health assessments of the parents.

Before a placement can occur in the state of New Jersey, a thorough home study assessment needs to be completed. This needs to be done for all private adoptions done on an interstate basis as well. Families that are looking to adopt a child who is currently in state custody will have to go through a more comprehensive education and home study process.

Any adoptive family that will ultimately finalize their adoption through the courts within New Jersey will also have to undergo criminal background checks with your individual state of residence and the FBI. Child abuse registry checks are also completed through your current state of residence and any location in which you or the other adopted parent have lived in within the last five years. It is strongly recommended to work with an experienced New Jersey adoption attorney whether you intend to adopt domestically in private placement or through a private agency adoption. The right attorney can provide you with further insight about how the home study works and what you can do to prepare.

Given that this a nerve wracking and exciting time for the adoptive parents, the insight of a lawyer who is dedicated to working for your best interests, can be extremely valuable. To get your questions answered promptly, schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey adoption lawyer today.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail.